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Revolutionising Event Design

Revolutionising Event Design

A treat for you this month - two guest editors! Samme Allen, CEO of The Attendee Experience (atex) and Claus Raasted, Director of the College of Extraordinary Experiences and consultant at atex, the organisation curating the education programme at The Meetings Show 2024, discuss why they’re encouraging event planners to shake up the way they design their events.

Samme Allen: There has been significant interest in the latest Freeman Trends Report on Attendee Motivators (see What we’ve taken note of) within the atex team this month. The report includes the latest insights for event attendee intent and behaviour, and, as someone who is promoting innovation within this year’s education programme at The Meetings Show, the findings were music to my ears.

According to the results, 75% of respondents (a 3% uplift on the previous year) regard demonstrations and hands-on experiences as their preferred formats at in-person events.  We’re also seeing a growing number – 52% - of attendees highlighting the value of unstructured interactions and enjoying immersive and engaging experiences. The report also found that peer-to-peer learning has emerged as a top priority.

These findings signal a major shift in attendee expectations – no-one wants to sit and be talked at for hours now. Instead, they indicate a need to look more closely at the design of events and ensure they match the requirements of the multi-generational attendees many of us have to cater for. Instead of designing for a particular industry type, we should design around the attendees and think about how they will react to the content. I recommend sitting in their shoes, feeling what their experience might be and design accordingly, rather than doing what we’ve always done.

Claus Raasted: I agree, we must shake up the way we approach events. I feel frustration with the persisting traditional conference programmes, dominated by the one-to-many approach.

After all, a lack of event design comprehension among stakeholders, rigid technical platforms, and resource constraints hinder event professionals in meeting attendee needs. Isn’t our main motivation to provide for our attendees?

Samme and I believe that attendees will drive the revolution and evolution of events, so we are poised to lead the change. We’ve used data and insights from reports like this to shape the education programme at The Meetings Show 2024 and are working with session contributors to address attendee preferences.

Sessions will now offer opportunities to engage with experts and feature more interactive elements, aligning with attendee feedback. Embracing innovative event experiences and changing the world of how we meet is important to us at atex and we hope it will become important to others designing events in the future.


The Freeman Trends Report on Attendee Motivators has stirred significant interest within the atex team.